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    Beats Studio Buds review: Apple earbuds that don’t leave Android in the dark / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 15:00

Beats on Monday announced its latest pair of wireless earbuds, the Beats Studio Buds.

The new headphones feature a fully wireless design and active noise cancelation (ANC), putting them in line with similar noise-canceling pairs like the AirPods Pro from Beats parent company Apple and Sony’s new WF-1000XM4 .

At $150, though, the Studio Buds undercut those competitors on price by a fair margin. The earbuds are available to preorder today and will begin shipping on June 24.

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    24-inch iMac review: There’s still no step three / ArsTechnica · Sunday, 6 June - 13:30

The 2021, 24-inch iMac with Apple

Enlarge / The 2021, 24-inch iMac with Apple's M1. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Much has been written about people embracing nostalgia for comfort during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the new 24-inch iMac's bright colors and simplistic design, Apple seems to be indulging in the pangs of nostalgia , too.

But the new iMac's nostalgia is only skin deep. Inside, it has arguably the most advanced CPU currently sold in consumer devices: the M1. This chip is equally at home in an iPad and a Mac, yet the M1 delivers performance that rivals or beats some of the best desktop chips available in some cases.

Even though the M1 offers enough performance to attract power users, this new iMac isn't really for them. Rather, the 24-inch iMac is first and foremost about simplicity. It's a computer that promises users they won't have to think about how to configure or maintain a system. It's a computer that's more concerned about fitting into the room than it is about taking you somewhere else.

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    Mighty Goose is a furious over the top honking good time and it's out now / GamingOnLinux · Saturday, 5 June - 19:35 · 2 minutes

Mighty Goose is the brand new run and gun action game from Blastmode, MP2 Games and publisher PLAYISM. It's out now with same-day Linux support and it's fantastic. Note : key provided by publisher.

"Assume the role of Mighty Goose and bring the fight to the Void King. This galaxy conquering monarch commands a vast army of minions and mechanised monsters. Dealing with these baddies means traveling to distant worlds and facing all kinds of dangers. But not to worry, this is no problem for the legendary Mighty Goose!"

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This is probably some of the most furious action I've seen in a run and gun for a while, very much like you might have expected out of some kind of Metal Slug game. Enemies keep on coming, so you keep on gunning. Not just the action that's good though! The visual style, the music and the additions of some comedy make it a truly worthwhile game to go and pick up today.

What's not to love about it? You're a Goose whose first special ability is to Honk. It does absolutely nothing but it's hilarious all the same. You do get to switch to other abilities, and weapons and there's an upgrade system too. Not only that, you also get to rescue and use various different companions. The first of which is an ordinary Duck, which like the Honk, is useless but still amusing as an intro to the rest.

You also have a special ability to power yourself up, essentially turning yourself into a Super Saiyan Goose for a brief moment and suddenly becoming incredibly powerful while you take little damage. This ultimate ability doesn't last long while you use it, and it charges while you fight but it's fantastic too - especially for when you're in a pinch during some of the crazy boss fights.

13241052801622921556gol1.jpg Don't mess with the Goose.

The way it uses money is pretty clever too. Most games will have you collects coins for lives or upgrades. Here though, you use it directly in each run. You can pause the game, bring up the shop and purchase weapons and vehicles. It's quite a nice touch. There's a few nice accessibility options too. You can turn on auto-fire, disable screen-shake (of which there's a lot) and disable flashing screens (also a lot).

As for the Linux port, as expected by MP2 Games, it's fantastic too. Very smooth and looks awesome. No Linux-specific issues were found here. Solid.

Controller support is a bit odd overall. I've seen others report that some less popular controllers don't work at all like some 8bitdo and my Xbox 360 pad wants to vibrate all the time. It works perfect with the Steam Controller and Stadia Controller though, so I've had an absolute blast with it.


  • Fast-paced run-and-gun experience with tight controls.
  • Battle against screen filling bosses that will test your skill, timing, and dodging
  • Customize your playing style using a combination of upgrade chips, secondary weapons and assist characters.
  • Pilot devastating war-machine vehicles to decimate large groups of enemies.
  • Beautifully crafted vibrant pixel art worlds, vehicles and characters.
  • An amazing soundtrack featuring crunchy synth-rock and funky jazz-fusion melodies. Composed by Dominic Ninmark (Moonrider, Blazing Chrome, Gravity Circuit).

Honk. You can buy Mighty Goose on Steam . Honk.

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    Loved Celeste? You're going to want to play brain-twisting precision platformer Sunblaze / GamingOnLinux · Thursday, 3 June - 14:26 · 2 minutes

Celeste was tough, incredible and beautiful but controller-throwing annoying and Sunblaze sits along nicely beside it now as one of my new favourites. Note : key provided by the developer.

Developed by Games From Earth with Bonus Stage Publishing, Sunblaze tells the story of Josie as you go wall-jumping and dashing through her retired superhero dad's training simulator. This is a platformer that won't hold your hand, in fact it'll take it and then use it to throw you over the edge and expect you to figure it out. It's damn good though, sweat-inducing challenging and it looks seriously pretty too.

You won't get bored quickly either, with over 700 hand-crafted levels to run and fail through.

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“It’s been an honor working with Sunblaze,” the guys from Bonus Stage Publishing say, “the game is truly entertaining and beautiful to look at. It makes you want to try again and again, even though that means dying and dying. You keep on playing so you can get just a little more of that heartwarming story. Try not to smash your controller though.”

Accessibility was one of the key aims with Sunblaze, to make it fair for gamers of varying abilities to play. They included a number of options to make it easier if needed including invincibility, infinite dashing, infinite jumping, breaking glass just by touching it, higher jumps and also higher double jumps. It seems like a really nice set of features there as they said "we want as many people to be able to enjoy Sunblaze as possible" which is why they also support Linux with it too!

You can be pretty creative with how you solve each level. While there's a clear goal on each one, your skill with each step and jump is what's key to good timing and less deaths. There's a number of tech-moves available like the ability to jump on spikes - if you know how to time it exactly right and various other little specials you can be able to do with good button timing.


Part of what makes it incredibly tough is a lot of levels need you to just keep on going. It's tiring work for your hands and fingers. You make a first jump, something moves away from you and that's it, you just gotta keep on going. It's not always like that but there's plenty of it. This makes it incredibly frantic and really does work your brain and eyes too, everything needs to match up to finish each level.

If you loved the likes of Super Meat Boy, Celeste and other similar tough platformers you're going to absolutely need to go and play Sunblaze right now.

You can buy Sunblaze on Humble Store and Steam . The Linux build appears to be missing from GOG .

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    Deck-building roguelite Griftlands from Klei is out now and it's wonderful / GamingOnLinux · Tuesday, 1 June - 21:38 · 2 minutes

After only recently adding Linux support, Klei Entertainment has now officially released their incredibly stylish and engrossing deck-builder Griftlands.

What is it? "Griftlands is a deck-building roguelite where you fight and negotiate your way through a broken-down sci-fi world. Every decision is important, be it the jobs you take, the friends you make, or the cards you collect. Death comes quickly, but each play offers new situations and strategies to explore."

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As far as deck-builders go, Klei has managed to jump into a popular genre with some already incredible games and do something none of them are doing yet. You have to hand it to Klei, their games always bring a certain special flair and Griftlands not only looks good - it's genuinely great to play through too. Even though their Linux support for it is quite new, the Linux build runs to perfection.

Not only are you building up a deck and throwing cards around as your abilities to conquer foes, you're also needed to think a little about your actions. There's consequences to a lot of what you do, be it making new friends or enemies and the way it's all blended together is pretty clever. Compared to the likes of Slay the Spire and other similar deck-builders, it feels a lot more like you would expect from an RPG adventure. While I adore other deck-builders, Griftlands has some nice story elements to really back it all up and keep you interested.

The way it mixes together different decks is great too. Since the game isn't all about taking down weird creatures in combat, it's also about dealing with people directly, where you can "attack" multiple points on their character and so you get a special negotiation deck making it also a conversational deck-building battle game merged into everything else.

Game Features:

  • Battle Challenging Bosses - Test your combat decks against powerful foes with unique mechanics and attacks.
  • Build a Team - or Buy One! - Hire mercenaries, find pets, or impose upon your friends to accomplish your goals.
  • Master Hundreds of Cards - Each character has unique negotiation and combat decks to draft from. Get powerful item cards from fallen foes, or as rewards.
  • Decisions Matter - Killing foes may incur the wrath of their friends, but sparing them leaves a dangerous piece on the board. Choose wisely, everyone remembers everything you do!
  • Welcome to Havaria - Each playable character's story takes place in a unique environment, with different factions and locations to explore and exploit.
  • Explore A Broken-Down Sci-Fi World - The world of Havaria is a harsh place, full of harsher denizens. Explore lush, hand-illustrated environments full of people who want to kill you.
  • Playing Politics For Keeps - Each character has a factional allegiance and an opinion of you. Play politics between rivals, and try to capture the most powerful social boons. But watch out -- doublecross the wrong person, and you'll be subject to their bane!
  • Outwit or Overpower - Overcome obstacles with the power of your fists - or your words. You'll need to pick your cards and play them right if you're going to survive. Build two decks simultaneously, balancing the tradeoffs of each.

If you like previous Klei games and/or you like deck-builders, Griftlands is a must-buy. I love it.

You can buy Griftlands on Steam . It's 20% off until June 8.

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    Lost Ruins is a little quirky but it's an absolutely gorgeous metroidvania and lots of fun / GamingOnLinux · Thursday, 20 May - 15:18 · 2 minutes

ALTARI GAMES and DANGEN Entertainment recently released Lost Ruins, an action-platformer metroidvania. A game that's taken me by surprise on how wonderful it is to look at. Note : key provided by Dangen Entertainment.

It has some excellent pixel art, blended together with tons of modern touches. There's lots of fancy lighting effects, giving it a feel a bit like Dead Cells, with the shiny glow of something like Noita. Add to that the cast of cute anime styled characters and their silly voice effects for fights it makes it quite a treat to play through. That is, if you can get over the ridiculous idle animation for the protagonist that makes it look like they're about to wet themselves at any moment.

Lost Ruins is all very - Kawaii.

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The story setup isn't particularly interesting honestly though. Using the very much tried, tested and somewhat tired amnesia element. You're a modern looking girl, who wakes up in a dungeon full of monsters with no memory of who you are. So you set off on a journey through the ruins to try and figure out what's going on. Pretty standard stuff which it thankfully makes up for in the gameplay and the supremely good artwork.

Lost Ruins, they say, is a survival experience. Made primarily for those who enjoy some tough combat, keeping an eye on your items to keep your health and mana up and exploration. However, there is a more relaxed mode for people who want to focus more on the story too.

When it comes to the combat, it can be quite tough. One of the reasons it's tough are the weapon timers. Some melee weapons feel far too slow and unwieldy, that you end up getting hit a bit too often because you've gone to attack and it's just too slow to action. This is something that others have griped with it on, so it's definitely not just me. The developer has put out a few patches since release, one of which to improve the input and it definitely got a little better. Meanwhile the ranged weapons feel mostly fine, and quite fun to use too because of the variety to them all.


You really have to think the combat through too. Liquids can get set on fire, conduct electricity, spread poison and more. What can hurt enemies, might backfire and hurt you if you're not careful. It's definitely not a game to run through quickly, which is part of why I adore it. That first boss battle though, ouch.

So much of it is just designed so exceptionally well from the graphics to the enemies, it's honestly fantastic. It's made me laugh a few times as well, especially the enemies that love the water that let off a little scared shriek when they see you, makes me chuckle every time I see them.

The Linux version has been running beautifully. If you love a good metroidvania styled game, this is a nice and easy recommendation for you to pick up.

You can buy it from , Humble Store and Steam . Sadly the Linux build is not on yet.

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    The absolutely awesome action-platformer shooter HUNTDOWN is out now for Linux / GamingOnLinux · Thursday, 13 May - 13:55 · 2 minutes

After some time of being an Epic exclusive, HUNTDOWN has now released on GOG and Steam making it available for Linux from developer Easy Trigger Games. Note: personal purchase.

Was it worth the wait? Absolutely. It's insane - in the best way possible. It reminds me of Broforce for the over the topic action, which remains as my all time favourite action platformer. However, HUNTDOWN is already looking like it might end up taking the number 2 slot - it's just that good.

"In the mayhem-filled streets of the future where criminal gangs rule and cops fear to tread, only the bounty hunters can free the city from the corrupt fist of felony. Lay waste to the criminal underworld and make a killing in this hard boiled action comedy arcade shooter."


Featuring hand-painted gorgeous 16-bit styled pixel-art, it's an absolute feast for the eyes combined with the incredible fluid action back up by the pumping soundtrack. The voice acting is absolutely spot on too, fits in perfectly with each character. It's weapons and boss battles that make it ridiculously enjoyable though with such a fantastic mix available. Small guns, shotguns, machine guns, huge mounted weapons, a guitar, a bat and the list goes on - blowing things up just feels seriously epic here.

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Characters available:

  • Anna Conda: Ex-commando, firearms expert, and full-time loose-cannon, Anna will assassinate without question or mercy, as long as you don’t mind the collateral damage.
  • John Sawyer: Once a Special Forces cop who left the law behind. This scarred veteran has lost so many limbs in combat he’s practically half robot.
  • Mow Man: Modified recon droid, stolen and empowered with banned software. Trades bodies for cold hard cash. Don’t expect to be taken alive if Mow Man’s on your six.

Gangs to take on:

  • Hoodlum Dolls: Violent feral punks winning the gang war with the toothless authorities
  • Misconducts: Organised hockey hooligans, experts in robbery and extortion with a penchant for explosives
  • The Heatseekers: Murderous motorcycle club. These rockabilly villains style themselves on the centurions of Ancient Rome
  • NO.1 Suspects: Masters of discipline and organised crime. Martial arts experts, these slick psychopaths control the night through their casinos and nightclubs

It's an easy recommendation to go get it. Honestly it was love at first sight with HUNTDOWN. Not just because I grew up with similarly styled games but HUNTDOWN is close to perfection. As for the Linux version? Absolutely great! You just can't help but small and maniacally laugh as you blast your way through it. If you loved games like Metal Slug, and other similar explosive experience do check it out. In a word — fantastic.

You can buy it on GOG and Steam .

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    Project Hail Mary, like The Martian, is all about solving problems with science / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 4 May - 12:00 · 1 minute

Cover art from <em>Project Hail Mary</em>.

Enlarge / Cover art from Project Hail Mary . (credit: Ballantine Books)

Project Hail Mary, the latest from science fiction author Andy Weir, is a lot like Weir’s first novel, The Martian. It’s a rapid-fire romp through insurmountable problem after insurmountable problem, focusing on a protagonist who quips his way through each issue with snappy first-person narration and a never-ending supply of Science ™ .

Saying more about the book while avoiding spoilers is very difficult. As with The Martian, the book opens on a lone human in dire straits—our narrator awakens with total memory loss and has no idea who he is, where he is, or what he’s supposed to be doing. The process by which he pieces together his identity and mission takes up the first chunk of the book, and none of that stuff can really be discussed without spoiling things.

Spoiler-free thoughts: Should you buy it?

The quick version is that if you enjoyed The Martian ’s style of storytelling , you’ll probably enjoy Project Hail Mary. The two books are cut from the same cloth—a scientist finds himself alone and has to science the you-know-what out of the situation. If that conceit works for you, the book will work for you. (And, as with The Martian , there's already a movie deal in the works , with a screenplay by Drew Goddard.)

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